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HSE begins shutting down London sites

The Health and Safety Executive has started a crack-down on small sites accross London, with work on some sites already being ordered to stop.

Close to one in four of the 150 small construction sites involving roof work, refurbishment and extensions to domestic properties visited so far have had prohibition notices served on them by the Health and Safety Executive.

A prohibition notice stops some or all of the site activities because of an immediate risk to workers.

In coming weeks, inspectors will visit sites in Brent, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Newham, Redbridge, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, Lewisham, Bromley, Richmond and Wandsworth.

Inspectors will concentrate on how sites are managing roof repair, working at height and manual handling, as well as the welfare facilities for workers. Inspectors prefer to offer advice but will take enforcement action to stop unsafe work and ensure any essential improvements are made.

HSE principal inspector Andrew Beal said: “Each year too many construction workers are needlessly injured or killed while working on site.

Finding such poor work practices that we had to issues prohibition notices on nearly one in four sites is unacceptable, especially when many of the incidents are completely avoidable by taking commonsense actions and precautions.”

HSE figures show there have been 59 fatalities in London between 2004/2005 and 2009/2010, 30 being deaths from falls. Over 70 per cent of the deaths caused by a fall occurred on small sites.

Inspectors saw several examples of well run small sites, but on others they were disappointed at the level of ignorance about basic health and safety standards.